Spaghetti Squash Italiano

Spaghetti Squash ItalianoSpaghetti squash isn’t that common dish made in most households.  In fact, I never had it growing up.  I came from that meat and potatoes kind of family with all the common vegetable sides.

Plus, let’s admit it, big squash is a bit intimidating.  It’s heavy, and hard to cut.  Can I please have a saw to cut this baby? Not to mention, you don’t ever want to drop it on your foot.  But in all honesty, spaghetti squash is really pretty easy to make.

In my late 20’s, my husband came home with a recipe for spaghetti squash from a coworker.  That’s when we first tried spaghetti squash and loved it.  Since then we’ve been making it, but we’ve tweaked it a bit to our liking and we call it Spaghetti Squash Italiano or Dad’s “famous” Spaghetti Squash Italiano…as he likes to call everything!

It’s light so it can be an awesome side dish, or it can be eaten as a meal. For those non carb folks out there, this is a great dish for you.  Vegetarians will love this too.  We added all the awesome Italian spices and cheeses hence the name Spaghetti Squash Italiano. There are so many other awesome recipes out there for spaghetti squash, but Spaghetti Squash Italiano is a must try. Check it out!

Spaghetti Squash Italiano

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 Roma Tomatoes chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh Garlic; minced
  • 1/4 cup of Parsley
  • 1/4 cup of Basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of Fresh Parmesan/Asiago cheese mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.  Place the cavity side down in baking pan filled with a little water. Bake 20-30 minutes checking that the water hasn’t evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and gather the other ingredients.  Combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and other seasonings.  Let stand at room temperature to marry the flavor.
  3. When squash is done, flip over in pan.  Fill each cavity with tomato mixture.  Top with cheese mix. Place back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove and scoop mixture into a large serving dish.  Use a fork to fluff squash into spaghetti strands.  A small amount of olive oil can be added but it is optional.

**Check squash to be sure it is al dente.  Don’t over cook.

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

 

 

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

Soup is the perfect comfort food, especially on cold winter days.  It’s also the perfect meal for a busy family that doesn’t have time to sit down for a meal.  Soup is always our “go to” meal when we have a night packed full of practices or meetings which happens a lot.  It was one of those kind of nights.  Time to make some Italian Sausage Spinach Soup, leave it on the stove, and eat at your convenience.

Italian sausage is used in this house at least once a week. I love Italian sausage!  It probably has something to do with my Italian heritage, but it also adds so much flavor.  You can taste the extra bold flavors and spice of the sausage in this awesome Italian Sausage Spinach Soup.  This soup is also very versatile. If you are looking for a low carb option, then leave the pasta on the side.  My husband eats the Italian Sausage Spinach soup with out the pasta. The kids enjoy it with the pasta so everyone is happy. Of course, we double the recipe because we like left overs. Italian Sausage Spinach Soup is a favorite in this house.  Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 16 Ounces of Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 4 Cups of Chicken broth
  • 2 14 1/2 Ounce cans of Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • 2 Cups thinly sliced celery hearts with leaves
  • 1 Cup uncooked Small Shell Pasta
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
  • 4 Cups of bagged Spinach Leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1.  Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the sausage to the pan and cook.  Stir the sausage, breaking it up to crumble for approximately 10 minutes, or until browned. Drain, and return to the pot.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes, celery, pasta, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Serve with hot Italian bread!

Optional Low Carb – If you want to add the pasta separately, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Do not add pasta as indicated in step 2.  Leave the pasta on the side.  It can be added individually to each serving.  Another note, we used a larger shell pasta because that is what we had at home.  Remember, you can get a little creative and adjust accordingly to what you might have in your kitchen.

Enjoy!

Education 4 All, Inc.

Education 4 All Inc

Education is the platform for everything in our lives no matter what your age might be.  Education is a progressive and life long process influenced by home, work, school, and community. Everyday we are confronted with situations that test our ability to communicate, make good decisions, and interact in our daily lives.  Education 4 All, Inc. was founded on all these principles.

The message of Education 4 All, Inc. can be summed up by their mission statement.

“Our mission is to help teens and adults be the best they can be at home, school, work, and in their community”.

Education 4 All, Inc. assists students, teachers, parents, and the greater community in six core areas:

1) Stress Reduction

2) College Scholarships and Preparation

3) Career Exploration and Transition

4) Classroom Management

5) Leadership Development

6) Financial Freedom

This wonderful organization was founded by Dr. Carletta D. Washington, founder/executive director, speaker, consultant, and author. Her background is extensive in the educational field with over 20 years of Leadership roles, but it doesn’t stop there.  Carletta offers so much more through Education 4 All, Inc. including her weekly Radio show on blog talk radio, as well as her online magazine, “Involved Parent Magazine”, in addition to her various books focused on parenting, education, and development.

Carletta is a dynamic individual with a true passion for the betterment of individuals and the community.  She strives to educate, motivate, and assist in all aspects of driving people to a full life of development and happiness. Education 4 All, Inc. is Carletta’s passion in life.  She is the perfect example of what an accomplished individual should represent.

The St. Louis Cooks are proud to partner with this wonderful organization. We are writing for the “Involved Parent Magazine” and have also participated in the weekly blog talk radio show.  Our relationship is ideal because our organization is also founded on the same principles of Education 4 All, Inc.  Parent involvement and family activities are so important to the overall development of our youth, including family cooking in the kitchen and eating family dinner together. There are so many values and principles that are influenced by these activities. We are educating our children in so many areas of life in more ways than we realize.  Please check out Education 4 All, Inc.

Education 4 All, Inc. is a registered 501 (c) (3) education organization.

Education 4 All Inc

 

Marshmallow Fudge Brownies

 

Fudge Brownies

Today, Jack Sievers, child #2, was the chef in our kitchen.  He decided he wanted to make desert!  That’s no shocker.  We both pondered a few different recipes based on ingredients we had at home.  We decided to go basic, but something with big and rich flavors.

There’s one thing you will always find in my kitchen – a big box of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix from Costco.  In my opinion, it’s the best brownie mix out of a box.  They are rich with big chucks of chocolate.  Jack decided he wanted to top them with marshmallows.  I told him that was a good idea and maybe we could add another topping.  So there you have it – Marshmallow Fudge Brownies!  This is an easy recipe to involve the kids in the kitchen and they will love the end result.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pan (9×13) Brownies, baked and cooled – we use Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie MixJack putting on marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Square Ounce unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 (3 ounce) Package of Cream Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Let brownies cool completely.Jack making frosting
  2. In large sauce pan, combine, butter, milk, unsweetened chocolate, and cream cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Sprinkle marshmallows over brownies and bake for 2-5 minutes until puffed. Remove brownies from oven and immediately pour frosting over marshmallows.  Lightly swirl to a marble with a knife.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm.

Enjoy!

Jack's Brownies

 

Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses

Making gingerbread houses is one of our favorite activities over the holidays.  In years past, we’ve made them from scratch.  By that I mean, we used graham crackers for the base of our house, purchased our own icing and candy to decorate.  It wasn’t always an easy task. Well this year was different.  I bought the Wilton Gingerbread House Kits with everything included.  Wow!  I don’t think I will ever go back.  The kits are so easy!  I purchased them at Michaels for $8.99 per kit and used a coupon – not a bad deal at all.  I also purchased some additional candy because we like to include Holiday M&M’s on our houses.

Ingredients:

  • Wilton Gingerbread House Kit
  • Additional Candy of choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Have fun!

I highly recommend this activity with the kids.  Get a little messy, let the creative juices flow, eat some icing, and have some fun!

DSCF5338

Enjoy!